Ministry was one of the most important Industrial rock bands to come out of the Classic Rock period. Below is a list of our favorite Ministry songs.
10. No W
2004’s Houses of the Mole was the first album not to feature long time bassist Paul Barker and the first of what was dubbed their “anti-George Bush” trilogy, with all of the lyrics attacking then then-president. “No W’s.” title is ironic because it is actually the only song on the album not to begin with W. It was the album’s first single. There is another version of it that appears on later editions of the album. This version is often called the redux version due to the fact that is slightly shorter and all of the samples from Carl Off’s “Carina Burana” are not included on it.
This version was also included on the soundtrack for the video games Need For Speed: Underground 2 and Tony Hawk’s Underground 2. Although they are both considered to be the same version of the song, the latter is slightly different as it still features the sample of a speech by George W Bush which the former does not. The Redux version also features a guitar solo that is not included in the extended version.
9. Lies Lies Lies
“Lies Lies Lies,” is from 2006’s Rio Grande Blood and was nominated for a Grammy but like all of their other nominations, they did not win, losing out to Slayer’s “Eyes of the Insane” for Best Metal Performance. “Lies Lies Lies. “is one of the band’s fastest and heaviest songs. It is also one their angriest songs, with the lyrics being a scathing attack on the Bush administration. It features audio samples from the documentary Loose Change, which was series of films arguing in favour of conspiracy theories relating to the September 11 attacks. The video also used imagery of the then-president to mock him.
8. Just One Fix
It is a well-known fact that Jourgensen battled with Heroin addiction for 18 years and “Just One Fix.” was written during that time. It is from 1992’s Psalm 69 and begins with a sample quote from the film Sid and Nancy about Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen who were both also heroin users. It was the album’s third single. The video, directed by Peter Christopherson from the band Coil, featured footage of author William S Burroughs who is one of Jourgenson’s biggest influences and also provided the single’s cover art. It was later covered by thrash band Sepultura on their album Kairos.
The song “Du Hast” by Rammstein is very similar sounding to “Just One Fix” which has led many to believe that the guitar riff is sampled directly from it. However, members of Ramstein have stated that the song sounds the way it does simply because of Ministry’s influence on them.
7. Bad Blood
“Bad Blood.” appeared on 1999’s Dark Side of the Spoon which as well as being a play on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was also a reference to heroin. It was featured on the soundtrack to the 1999 film The Matrix. It was also nominated for Best Metal Performance at 42nd Grammy Awards. The single release also featured an instrumental track called “Happy Dust.” which never featured on any of the band’s albums. It was however, used as the intro and outro track for the Sphinctour DVD.
6. Jesus Built My Hotrod
“Jesus Built My Hotrod.” from Psalm 69 is one of Ministry’s most celebrated songs due to its general quirkiness. It features “vocals” from Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers which is really him just making a gibberish noise over the industrial riff. It was first released as a single where it charted at number 19 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts.
There are several different accounts of how the song came about. It is generally believed that it originated when Ministry and the Butthole Surfers were playing together at Lollapalooza. As well as being an industrial metal track, it also features elements of rockabilly and psychobilly being particularly influenced by the 1963 Trashmen hit “Surfin Bird.”
5. Burning Inside
From 1989’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. The use of a drum machine often comes across as lacking in feeling but Jourgensen has always had a way of making them work. It was the only single to be released from the album. The band Burning Inside named themselves after it. “Burning Inside.” was also featured on a Scarface game titled The World is Yours. It was later covered by Static X featuring Burton C Bell from Fear Factory on guest vocals.
The band released a video for the song which became a big hit on MTV. It depicted the band playing a live show surrounded by a metal fence which was used as a stage prop on the tour to support this album. A live version later appeared on the live recording In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up released in 1990.
“Thieves” from The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste is a fiercely political track known for featuring samples lifting from the 1987 Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket. It is the opening track on the album as well as the B side to “Burning Inside”. Its lyrics deal with Political Corruption. It has been featured in the 1992 film Freejack as well as the 2009 video game Brutal Legend. “Thieves” features extensive use of E minor chord with Jourgensen singing in the G Note all the way through while the song changes its rhythm.
Limp Bizkit often used to perform a cover of “Thieves.” live throughout the 90’s before finally releasing a studio version in 2013. Several reviews expressed the opinion that they butchered it.
Next on the list is “N.W.O.”, the group’s biggest hit which reached number 11 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart. From Psalm 69, “N.W.O” is also anti-Bush, but not the same one. It was the opening track from the album as well as its second single. It was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 1993 Grammys and was featured on the soundtrack to the 1992 film Cold World.
The promotional single featured two mixes of “N.W.O.” and was released around the same time as the album. The promotional video took the opportunity to get across the songs message in a visual way as it showed footage of police beatings, riots and gunfights. The video was featured on Beavis and Butthead and the song was featured on another Need for Speed game called The Run.
“Stigmata” is taken from 1998’s The Land of Rape and Honey which is widely considered to be the first true Ministry album after the first two synth-based efforts. Jourgensen to this day still regards it as his favourite Ministry album. It is the album’s opening track and was featured two years later in the sci-fi movie Hardware rather bizarrely with shock rock band GWAR shown “performing” it. It is one of the band’s most popular songs, having been featured in several movies and games.
The song features distorted vocals and guitars as well as a compressed drum loop. It was a big Underground hit.
1. Every Day is Halloween
This is a probably a bit of a surprise considering it is the only song on this list from the band’s early synth period but at number 1 is “Every day is Halloween” lifted from Twelve Inch Singles (1981-1984). This track is rather reminiscent of early New Order (and a result, Joy Division to a lesser extent). Its use of programmed drums, keyboards and its bassline show that the British electronic act were clearly a big influence on Ministry at this point in their career.
The track is very much an 80’s goth track so many reading this are probably questioning what warrants its place at top spot when it contains so little of the metal sound that has made the band’s career. The answer is simply that it is a great track that shows that even though this period of the band is often written off by both fans and the band as being something of a false start, this is not completely the case as they did write some material during this period that is very good.